Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director already rehired for third movie

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Jan 8, 2014, 11:02 AM EST (Updated)

20th Century Fox must really, really, really like what director Matt Reeves is doing with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Deadline reports that shortly after the studio and producers got a look at Reeves' first rough cut of the movie, he was immediately offered the job to direct the third entry in the rebooted series. 

That's before even a single person has forked over money for a ticket -- which is a pretty clear sign that the studio executives are very pleased with what Reeves has shown them so far.

Reeves will also co-write the third Apes film with Mark Bomback, who had a hand in the script for Dawn. The director is expected to begin work on the next installment almost as soon as he has put the finishing touches on this one.

The whole relaunch of the Apes franchise began in 2011 with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which was directed by Rupert Wyatt and featured an astonishing motion-capture performance by Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings) as the genetically enhanced chimp Caesar. The movie was a surprise hit -- especially to the studio, which wasn't sure what it had -- and grossed $482 million worldwide.

And guess what? It was a terrific movie, too, one of the best sci-fi films of that year and perhaps the finest Apes film since the 1968 original. Now, with Reeves at the helm -- whose two previous movies, Cloverfield and Let Me In, were both strong pieces of work -- and an ominous teaser out there, Dawn has quickly become one of the most anticipated genre releases of this year.

The movie stars Serkis, reprising his role as Caesar, along with Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Judy Greer and Keri Russell. It takes place 10 years after Rise, as Caesar's army of apes grows in strength and the remnants of humanity attempt to rebuild after the virus at the end of Rise wiped most of them out. The picture opens in theaters on July 11, 2014.

Does the fact that Fox is keeping Reeves on board to direct Apes 3 make you feel good about Dawn's prospects? Sound off below.